I am not a Jazz musician. I want to crack up with laughter as I write that, because nothing could be further from the truth. Here's why:
Sometimes you have to move 3,000 miles away to see how good your music education was. My high school, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, had a fantastic Jazz program and my college University of North Florida, had one of the best in the country, according to Downbeat magazine. Did I also mention I lived in the South for the longest part of my childhood? You know, that part of the country where Jazz was born? Still, I chose to focus on Rock, Folk, and World music. My attitude was "Let those Jazz nerds have their music. I don't understand it, so I don't care either way."
So what did I do? I didn't get it, so I just acted like I didn't really like it. But how can I not like this stuff? There is so much to listen to. It's an A.D.D. musician's dream.
I see it happening in my own life, too. As I learn more about Jazz in order to continue to feed this beautiful jazz-obsessed monster I have created in my lessons, I am also finding parts of my personality I had forgotten about. Something about these "Jazz" chords as I play them on the piano reveals feelings in me I once had as an idealistic, optimistic child. I find myself feeling like peace really is possible within us all. I know this, because when I play Jazz, or let myself get "hooked" while listening to a song, or when I immerse in a Jam session with another human being, be it child or adult, I feel a sense of "connection" with the rest of this world that I only really understood in theory before.
Well, funny how judgments can come back to you, I because now I have proudly crossed over to being a Jazz Nerd, but I promise that I will do my best as a teacher to explain it so you understand what I am talking about. Wait--- shouldn't make promises like that. If I've learned anything about being a Jazz fan from those who have come before me, it's this:
You have to experience Jazz yourself. It's a true inner journey. Let's start with some friendly Vocal Jazz. How about Nina Simone?
Nina Simone - I wish I knew how it would feel to be free from Ambroise Kritz on Vimeo.